This is the third of my blogs taken from the fabulous new book called Great Myths of Child Development (Hupp & Jewell, 2015). Hupp & Jewel weigh up the research available about certain parenting myths in a well-written and excellently researched book.
The particular topic that caught my eye was the Myth around ‘Attachment Parenting’. Over the past two blogs, I have looked at their research on extended breastfeeding up to 7 years and immediate bonding within the first two hours of birth. Today, in this final blog, I will look at their review of the literature on co-sleeping.
Co-sleeping with your baby – Attachment parenting promotes co-sleeping with your baby as a method to enhance attachment and bonding. This is such a difficult subject, so lets look at the evidence:
- There is no evidence that babies who co-sleep are better adjusted or bonded to their parents.
- There is evidence that babies who co-sleep with their mothers are more likely to breastfeed and for a longer period.
- There is evidence that co-sleeping with unsafe practices increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Unsafe practices being – baby under the bed covers, parents drinking alcohol prior to sleep, co-sleeping on a couch.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics has a firm recommendation to not co-sleep, siting this and the back to sleep campaign as two important parts to decreasing SIDS.
This leaves the issue open to you. Essentially, if you do choose to co-sleep – do so safely and don’t prioritize it thinking it enhances emotional foundations.